Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Behind Closed Doors

My friend Stuart Hogue, Strategy Director of frog design inc. in NYC, has published a pretty interesting article about hyper exclusive social networks.

I find significant that his article comes at a time when Metcalfe's law is under criticisms. In different replies to IEEE Spectum, Robert Metcalfe stands by his law stating that the value of a network is equal to the square of the number of users. His opponents are mainly saying that: "The fundamental flaw underlying (...) Metcalfe's (...) law is in the assignment of equal value to all connections or all groups".

So the key and maybe the mathematical justification of hyper exclusive social networks might lie in this principle: not all connections have similar value, hence dedicated selective network will maximize their value by selecting only people who will engage in high value relationships.

In practice, it is true that I have quickly dropped Orkut and Friendster to favor the more selective LinkedIn network. I am still waiting to see returns from the highly selective Blue Chip Expert network, to which I have recently been invited. If you visit their homepage, you will appreciate the main picture: a closed door that looks very serious!

Is the true value of social networks waiting behind closed doors?